I have served as music director in many churches over the years. No matter where I was, I always found Lent to be a bit of a somber time in the life of the church. And often, this somber mood was reflected in the music that was played and sung each Sunday during Lent. For many years, selecting music for this season was a difficult task for me. Oftentimes, I would select a series of slow pieces, in minor keys, that I did not always enjoy incorporating into worship. I just thought that was the way Lent was.
If you were to look at the umc.org website you would find this definition of Lent:
“Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.”
And then, very importantly to me, it goes on to state the following:
“Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a “mini-Easter” and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.”
That sentence gave me the assurance that I could indeed choose music that was not always somber in mood, but actually “hopeful” in nature. As a result, I was able to choose a variety of music that would encompass inward reflection, hope for our faith and vision in God, drawing near to the glory of God through communion, and the joy of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
As we conclude our Lenten music during the month of April, I hope that you will come away with a sense of hope and anticipation as we draw closer to the wonderful good news of Easter morning.